I’ve dreamed/dreamt about it for months and months now. At one point, I thought that I would NEVER be able to do it again. No word of a lie. But today… I did it! I really, really did it and it felt amazing just like I had remembered it. Today is a day to celebrate and I would love nothing more than if you would share in it with me by treating yourself to something special on my behalf; after all, what’s a celebration without having someone to celebrate with, right? I chose to indulge in one of my specialty Hawaiian coffees that I would not normally have on a Thursday. I must admit that it tastes all the more sweet today. So, what is it exactly that we are celebrating you ask?! Please bear with me as I slowly get to my big reveal–it’s taken me a VERY long time to get here, so I would really like to savour the moment if you don’t mind.
Almost nine months ago, I had ankle surgery to repair a torn tendon and it has been a very s-l-o-w recovery, even more so than my surgeon originally anticipated. To be fair, my ankle had been deteriorating over a period of five or six years, so I guess it makes sense that I would need more than a couple of months to bounce back from it all. How long no one knew and honestly, it’s still a work in progress. As of yet, I am not back to work, but I am super grateful for my extended benefits plan and long-term disability which has allowed me both the gifts of time and necessary healing.
The surgery itself, under local anaesthetic, was a piece of cake–at least from my perspective anyway–not sure how my surgeon felt about the repair, but it was successful so that’s all that matters. As for how things went after the pain block wore off later that night? Well, that’s a whole different story. The first five days I thought that I was going to die and twelve hours of sleep all totaled did not help one iota. Thank God for pain meds, which I had to fight to get a prescription for, and Gabapentin, a nerve medication. Beyond that, it was weeks on crutches and a knee scooter before I was able to put on my own shoes, let alone take a handful of steps with my cane. Stairs were out of the question and curbs, ice and snow (which are staples in Canada) were my nemeses. Really, who knew that there were so many curbs to mount in everyday life? I never paid attention before; same with trying to open a door while sporting crutches since not every door has a handicap button sadly. Again, something that I never noticed pre-surgery. The prospect of taking showers, getting food, going to the bathroom and getting ready for bed all became big events around here, much of which I needed help from my husband in doing for the longest time. My whole world as I knew it was turned upside down, as was his, and nothing was routine or easy anymore. Sound familiar to you with all that we are experiencing now given the pandemic? Probably so. I guess one good thing to come from all of this for me is that I am well-practiced at feeling displaced similar to how most people are likely feeling at present. Indeed, all that was once considered normal was a distant memory and in its place was the constant worry of re-injury, uncontrollable pain at times, and a lack of mobility. For every bit of progress that I made, I took four steps backward and some days are still like that. But, I AM getting there… I am beginning to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, even when it appears as a mere pinpoint of hope at times. I will take whatever I can get. Now, let’s fast forward to this morning–the moment that I have been ever so s-l-o-w-l-y building up to…
After waking to a sunny, cool morning, I ventured out to our front porch to pet our cat who was bathing in the welcome rays. The prospects of Vitamin D and loud purring won over my usual physio routine. A couple of minutes into our morning bonding session, I noticed something. Our driveway, which was snow-covered mere days ago, seemed to have melted enough to reveal our tire tracks and the gravel beneath. I wonder… I walked closer to the gravel, also a tricky surface for me these days, took a calculated step and discovered that the dirt/rock mixture was hard unlike the soft mess of water, mud and ice that it was yesterday. Hmmm… Will I be able to walk on it safely? Is it packed down enough? Will the road be too uneven? Only one way to tell. I went back into the house, got my runners and orthotics (an absolute must!), my house keys and my sunglasses. Maybe today was finally the day?!
Excitedly, one step at a time like everything else as of late, I made my way past the house and up the beginning curve of our five hundred foot drive; the drive that I had longed to walk on for close to a year and a half when I last jog-walked each morning. In a rush, the peace and calm and familiar invigoration of exercising in the outdoors, our outdoors, came flooding back to me. Despite the fact that I was concentrating on my every step, I quickly absorbed the rising sun on my face and the light, crisp wind at my back while the fresh scent of the morning air filled my lungs. I was doing it!! I was walking on our driveway as I had taken for granted so many times before. My own two feet, sans aids, were propelling me forward again in a place that I call home. As I approached our gate, I turned around and paused… birds were singing, nearby highway traffic was a faint background noise and our farm cat was waiting for me on the curve, just like she used to. When I neared where she had perched herself, she ran into my path so that I could reach down and pet her as she happily weaved in and out of my legs; a routine she loves to partake in whenever one of us is walking the length of the drive. I continued up and down our gravel road four or five times, losing count as my mind whisked me away in gentle thought–another favourite of part of my morning routine that I had come to miss so dearly and there it was. There I was.
I have finally reached a milestone goal of mine since this whole thing began some 270 days ago. Most importantly, I am all the better for it because of an even deeper appreciation of what was, what is and what will be. Thank you for sharing in it with me. Cheers!